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Guide to Statistics and Methods
January 29, 2020

Practical Guide to Implementation Science

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison
  • 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Torrance
  • 3Division of Acute Care Surgery, Department of Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 4Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 5Department of Emergency Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA Surg. 2020;155(5):434-435. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2019.5149

Implementation science is the study of methods and strategies to promote the adoption and integration of proven clinical treatments, practices, organizational, and/or management interventions into routine practice and hence to improve health. It takes a mean of 17 years for research to translate to practice. Subsequently, patients may never be offered—or may experience a significant delay in—receiving interventions proven to be effective. Furthermore, proven interventions that are implemented poorly into the real-world setting may not produce the same health benefits observed in the randomized clinical trial setting. Implementation science bridges these gaps by studying how proven interventions or evidence-based practices are spread into the real world and understanding the barriers that limit the such interventions. It is the key final step to bring best-practice care to large numbers of patients. It includes both the study of implementation, defined as the integration of effective interventions into clinical practice, as well as the study of dissemination, defined as the spread of information about an effective intervention to practice settings.

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